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Posts Tagged ‘Community Association’

Popcorn bowl, film strip and ticket. Cinema attributes. Detailed vector illustration.

Community associations are often on the look-out for easy and low-cost events that bring the community together for socializing and fun.  And, what could be easier than a community movie night?  What too many associations don’t realize, however, is that the seemingly harmless act of screening a movie in your community association clubhouse may subject the association to liability for copyright infringement.

To explain, under Title 17 of the United States Code, known as the “Federal Copyright Act,” all movies that you rent at Netflix or Redbox, or that you buy at a store, are copyrighted.  Neither the rental nor the purchase of a copy of a copyrighted work carries with it the right to publicly exhibit the work.  Thus, while no additional license is required to privately view a movie or other copyrighted work with a few friends and family, absent a few defined exceptions, the Federal Copyright Act requires a special public performance license for any public showing of a copyrighted movie.

hoaloanUnless you’ve been living under a rock during the month of January, you can’t have missed the barrage of T.V. and radio commercials telling you that it’s time to file your annual tax returns.   While most of us understand that there is no escaping filing personal tax returns, I frequently receive questions from community association clients about whether it is necessary that their community association file a federal tax return.  

Contrary to what many community association members may think, the fact that a community association is a non-profit organization does not mean that it is a tax-exempt organization, such as a 501(c)(3).  Rather, non-profit status is different from being exempt from income taxes.   Non-profit corporations can make a profit, although they differ from a for-profit corporation because the profits remain in the organization rather than being distributed to the members, as they would be in a for-profit corporation. 

tulipinrainIt is safe to say that Spring has finally sprung here in Atlanta.  While Atlantans are enjoying the many benefits of Spring, including warm temperatures, festivals and a bevy of blooms, I’m sure that we can all agree that Spring does have a few downsides.  Pollen is one of them.  And, for many community associations, the beginning of “violation season” is another.  What I am referring to when I say “violation season” is the unfortunate fact that as temperatures rise and vegetation comes back to life, the gardening and lawn maintenance efforts of some owners will not keep pace with the growth of their yards’ plant life.  The governing documents of most community associations require that owners maintain their property in a neat and attractive manner, and overgrown lawns, weeds and unkempt landscaping beds will constitute a violation of this requirement.  Luckily, most owners eventually catch up and cure the violation, either on their own initiation or with a friendly reminder. 

filminginneighborhoodWith the number of feature films and television shows filmed in the Atlanta metropolitan area in the recent past, Atlanta is quickly earning the nickname the “Hollywood of the South.”  And, as movie and television producers look for new Atlanta area locations in which to film, they are increasingly turning to local condominium and homeowner associations to provide an authentic backdrop to their productions.

While the prospect of having your association featured on the big (or little) screen is an exciting one, as any Hollywood star knows, having a solid contract in place before filming begins is key to making sure that your association gets the most out of its “star” turn.  Here are a few key pointers to keep in mind if Hollywood comes calling for your association: